Bill Seppelt (Snr), Colin Gramp and Bryan Dolan (right) judging at the Royal Adelaide Wine Show, late 1950's.


Bill Seppelt (Snr), Colin Gramp and Bryan Dolan (right) judging at the Royal Adelaide Wine Show, late 1950's.

Bryan Dolan was born in Clare in 1930, the son of Arthur, the Clare High School headmaster. Arthur’s father and uncle, Arthur (Tim) and Thomas respectively, were the sons of Thomas Dolan, an Irish immigrant who settled in Clare in 1860. These two brothers initiated the Dolan winemaking passion and pedigree when they commenced developing an 88 acre vineyard and small winery in 1895 on Dolan Road at Stanley Flat, just north of the Clare township.

Bryan’s family moved to the South East of South Australia where he grew up in Naracoorte. This rural environment led him to enrol in agricultural studies at Roseworthy College. When the first oenology course was offered a year later, Bryan signed on and subsequently graduated in 1949.

That same year he accepted a job offered by Henry Martin, owner of the Stonyfell and Saltram vineyards and wineries. Initially as winery “manager” at Saltram in Angaston, the young Bryan actively assisted in the winemaking duties of local legend Fred Ludlow who was heading to retirement after over 50 years of service. Bryon officially took over winemaking in 1959 when Fred did eventually retire and soon after appointed Peter Lehmann as winemaker to replace him when he moved to Stonyfell to become winemaker and General Manager in 1960.

Bryan was a highly respected winemaker and industry contributor. His red wines in particular were held in high regard as wines of power and longevity, and he had the honour of being awarded amongst many other trophies and awards, the inaugural Jimmy Watson Trophy in 1962.

After 30 years at Saltram and Stonyfell Bryon left the company and spent the next ten years as Production Director for The Hardy Family Wine Company before retiring in 1999, ending a long and distinguished career in Australian Winemaking.